Talking to Strange Men by Ruth Rendell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After stumbling upon and reading hidden messages from one group member to another, John Creevey believes he has uncovered an espionage ring or possibly an underground mafia group planning crimes and even murder. What he's really found is a harmless game played by school boys in which coded messages are hidden in what the boys believe is a "safe drop" away from the prying eyes of adults. Creevey's interference in the harmless pranks and plots of these boys forms the basis for Rendell's story.
What I like most about Ruth Rendellbooks is the psychology she includes with her characters. The reader comes to know what motivates the people in her stories; what makes them do what they do, and how they've arrived at the thought process with behavior that moves the story forward.
All of the men in Talking To Strange Men could be classified as "strange" in some way. Some will go to great lengths just to get attention. Others are lonely and because they have no lives to speak of, everything that happens to them becomes magnified beyond its real importance. Even the schoolboys involved in their competitive games with complicated codes and clever tricks each participate in this activity for their own specific reasons outside of the obvious inducement of having fun.
I'd recommend this book or any book by Ruth Rendell to anyone who enjoys reading about characters who have depth and will often surprise the reader by what they do next.
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